I signed up for the Lifetime Fitness Minneapolis Triathlon way back in February when registration first opened up. I had originally registered for the international distance but switched to the sprint distance in late June. It was obvious that 1640 yard swim was out of my realm but the sprint was only 450 yards which was entirely doable. I could easily do 1640 yards in the pool but the farthest I had gone in open water was 330 yards..
The race was on a Saturday but I had to pick up my packet the day before. Parking spots were scarce and there was no way to avoid a long walk. I got my packet and listened to a gentleman speak about the race. That evening, I stamped my number on my arms, organized my gear, charged up my Garmin and got to bed early.
At 4:00 am, I woke to the sound of distant thunder and it was beginning to rain. The weather radar on my computer indicated that a massive storm was moving into the area. I checked the triathlon’s Twitter page and they were encouraging people who were already at the race to stay in their cars and wait for further updates. By the time I was about to leave, the storm had become extremely intense so I decided to wait it out and watch for more updates.
By 7 am, the transition was supposed to be closed and the race starting but they were still telling people to wait for more updates. By 7:30am, the power in my house had gone off and on three different times. Around that time they posted that the international course was closed due to storm damage but they were still assessing the sprint course.
At 7:55 they said that the sprint course was open and all athletes from both distances were going to race the sprint distance. Start times were delayed by 2 hours and the transition was to close at 8:45 am. It was still thundering and pouring really hard outside. Could I possibly load up, drive across town in a storm, hunt for a parking spot, get to the transition area and setup my gear (for the 1st time ever) in less than an hour? No way. I had to call it.
Within a couple of hours the weather had cleared up and I drove over to hand in my timing chip. I would have been starting about that time and was jealous of the people who were able to get there on time and race.
I learned a couple things from this experience…
1) Don’t plan for or register for an event too far in advance. There are just too many unpredictable variables involved. Bad weather, injuries, you could discover a better event, etc… Spend a few more dollars and register as close as possible to the race.
2) Be cautious of large events. They’re usually expensive and they tend to fill up fast which requires early registration (see rule #1). You might also have to wait a lot due to the sheer number of participants.
I currently have another tri in my sights but I’m waiting until the day before the race to sign up. If the weather looks good, I’m healthy and my schedule is open… it’s a go.